SOAS University of London

China & Inner Asia Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

Ch 401: Chinese-English Translation

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

This module examines issues surrounding the practice and activity of translation, and offers students the opportunity to develop their skills and methods in translating texts from Chinese into English. The syllabus combines practical translation exercises with critical analyses of context, strategies, methods, and their socio-political and cultural implications.

Through weekly seminars, the module convenor will introduce topical issues and key translation theories. Students will be assigned different genres of texts (literary, academic, media, technical and commercial, etc.) in Chinese to translate into English and present in class. The informal presentations will form the basis for group discussions on translation method and technique, and for sharing constructive feedback. Diligent assignment preparations and active seminar participation will also help students expand their knowledge of Chinese grammatical structures, text styles, vocabulary, idioms and expressions.

This module is designed to complement other language use modules for BA Chinese students to develop their skills in reading, analysing and translating Chinese texts. Students must have advanced language proficiency in Chinese to follow the module content.


Advanced level of Chinese language (Ch400 level).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of advanced Chinese grammar, vocabulary, idioms and expressions
  2. demonstrate skills and methods in analysing and translating differents genres and styles of Chinese texts into English
  3. identify and use relevant reference materials and critical sources for translating different Chinese text types into English
  4. demonstrate intellectual perspectives on translation practices, strategies and activity.


This module will be taught over 10 weeks at 2 hours per week in seminars.

Scope and syllabus

There is no set syllabus for this module.  A list of texts and topics will be made available from the teacher at the beginning of the module each year. This module will combine the practice of translation with critical analyses of context, strategy, method, and their socio-political and cultural implications. Students will be introduced to different issues and theories, present their translation work and method, and engage in practical exercises and group discussions on key topics. Different genres of texts will be assigned for translation.

Method of assessment

A portfolio of translation texts of 3,000 - 4,000 words (50%); translation of a set text of 1,000 words plus 500 word reflective commentary (35%); a 10-15 minute oral presentation of a translated text (in small groups) (15%).

Suggested reading

  • Baker, Mona. In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 1992.
  • Bassnett-McGuire, Susan. Translation Studies. London: Routledge, 2002.
  • Chan, Tak-hung Leo. Twentieth-century Chinese Translation Theory. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing House, 2004.
  • Liu, H. Lydia. Tokens of Exchange: the problem of translation in global circulations. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999.
  • Munday, Jeremy. Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2012.
  • Newmark, Peter. A Textbook of Translation. New York: Prentice-Hall International, 1988.
  • Nida, Eugene. Contexts in Translating. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Publishing Co., 2001.
  • Pellatt, Valerie and Eric T. Liu. Thinking Chinese Translation. A Course in Translation Method: Chinese to English. London: Routledge, 2010.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules